Skip to main content

Full text of "Verdict On India"

See other formats

the sort of districts to vrhich they v/ould be obliged to penetrate. *
Regrettable as it may seem, the mcfussii1 is not a salubrious roort
for unprotected females; it bears no sort of resemblance to the
Middle West or the Home Counties. The arrangements needed to
guard our school inarms might vreil involve an. expenditure even
larger than their own salaries. The profession of school niarm is
held, by the Indians, in low repute, like the profession of nursing.
It carries an apparently ineradicable association of loose morals.2
And so, apart from the problem of finding the money, and the
problem of finding the ladies to -rchom we are to pay the money,
vre are faced with yet another problem, which is nothing less than
a total revolution in the attitude of the entire male population,
Hindu and Muslim alike, towards the status of the school marm
It is not really quite bo simple as our theorists would have us
'But all these troubles would be avoided/ you may say, 'if
instead of school inarms we engaged male teachers.' Not quite
all. We might find, say, a whole fortieth of our staff instead of &*?
mere fiftieth. And presumably the young men would be able to
guard their virtue without exti;a assistance. Even so, that does not
solve the problem of where we are to find the money nor—"which
is more important—how we are to persuade the young men to
go 'back to the land,' for that is what teaching in India really
implies. It means isolation, desolation, and a long good-bye to
the city or anything resembling a city ; it means walking miles on
foot to a rough track where a bus passes twice a week, and at the
end of the bus route there is just another village, only a little
bigger, a little less dirty than the one he has left behind.
The Congress propagandist, of course, will tell you that the
moment British rule is finished the young men will pour away
from the cities and bury themselves in the deserts, forgetting all
their acquired tastes for the bright bustle of the city. The reply
1 The interior of an Indian province, generally used to describe the country as
opposed to the town.
* It is difficult for the Englishman or the American to understand the suspicion
with which Indians regard any woman who shows a desire to do anything mom '*
ambitious than cook and have babies.   Eqr instance, in Bengal, the fact that a girl
had a good voice or a fondness for songs was until recently a serious drawback to her
c prospects (see Dr. Dhurjati Mukerji's Modern Indian Culture, p. 191).